I'm not sure that I am totally comfortable with the line that some of this is
taking. The question as to the relationship between ethnicity and physical
characteristics is a troubling one, and perhaps not valid. It rather reminds
me of the the work by some ethno-historians of the late 19th and early 20th
century who attempted to identify certain Celtic skull-types. As you all
know, in Germany, this sort of history had a darker development.
The issues I am thinking of regard identity--how do we identify an ethnicity.
Is it based on cultural-linguistic issues or physical characteristics--should
we say someone is Basque or Celtic based on DNA or something else.
Personally, I think that DNA types have little to do with ethnicity except in
some circumstances. Scottishness, Welshness and Irishness are based on more
than lineage--they also take their identity from a common history, from
language, shared customs and from ancestry. However, in today's society, many
of these identity markers are less important, as the languages have receded,
ancestry has beeen mixed (particularly for those identifying with Celtic-ness
in the US) and many customs have been lost.
Now, add into all of this the issues that the modern populations of Britain
and Ireland are both amalgamations of the peoples who had migrated there over
time: In Scotland, you have Pictish, Irish, Briton, Anglo-Saxon,
Danish-Norwegian and Norman peoples setting there in the Middle Ages. If one
looks at the populations of some of the major cities today, there is also a
variety of immigrants from around the world. Are any of these people not
Scottish? How do they define their ethnicity, esp. for those descendants of
the medieval movements? Can we argue that Robert the Bruce, whose DNA was
closer to William the Conqqueror's than to Kenneth McAlpine's was not
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>>The relevance of lighter complexions may be singular. People from cold
>>climates tend to be lighter in complexion, BUT there are BIG exceptions
>>too, Eskimos being just one.
>People form the Caucasus do not, by and large, have lighter complexions --
>Armenians and Azeris tend toward olive complexions. Nor do most
>Steppelanders -- Buryats, and Chuk'chi (Chuk'chi are the Siberian cousins of
>Inuits, specifically Tlingits), for example are very dark skinned people.
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